PYJ hiding from sanction
By Thomas Domah/Nimba County
Senator Prince Yormie Johnson’s recent decision to step down as political leader of his Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) party is being attributed to his designation by the United States Treasury Department, under the Global Magnitsky Act or GloMag, for corruption, including votes buying during elections.
Several residents of Ganta, Nimba County, who called on a community radio station recently in the commercial city say the sanction is beginning to bite, especially in the wake of a recent caution to Liberians by U.S. Ambassador Michael McCarthy against electing or re-electing corrupt officials as the country goes to elections in October.
In an open letter addressed to the people of Liberia to mark International Anti-Corruption Day on Thursday, 8 December 2022, Ambassador McCarthy said, Liberians have heard unusually stark language from the Government of the United States regarding the corruption of sanctioned individuals, and that in some cases, they have also heard responses from the sanctioned officials themselves.
However, he urged that in the upcoming elections, it will be the turn of the people of Liberia to let their voices be heard on this topic, especially since several of those sanctioned officials may be running for office.
“If Liberians choose to elect or re-elect sanctioned officials as their leaders”, he notes, “that will send a very clear signal about how they truly feel about the fight against corruption and the future of their country.”
Ambassador McCarthy stressed that the all-important goal of transparent, free, credible, and peaceful elections this October will be one important factor in decisions about additional sanctions in the months leading up to the vote.
He said that the United States anti-corruption efforts in Liberia remain robust and continuous and that the American government can and will employ sanctions as needed on an ongoing basis, in support of its shared development, democracy, and security goals, guided by her Strategy on Countering Corruption.
At the same time, he reminded that ultimately, it is Liberians and not the U.S. government that are responsible for ensuring good governance in Liberia, adding that sanctions can help, but the ballot box is a far more important tool for holding officials accountable.
According to the callers, the MDR does not have an office space in Nimba, disclosing the party is being run in the homes of both Senators Johnson and Jeremiah Koung.
They noted that though PYJ has stepped aside as political leader, he still remains the defector leader of the MDR, as Senator Koung would be taking instructions from him.
This paper gathers that both senators are designing a scam to get money from the leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) Mr. Alexander B. Cummings with a promise to support his bid for the presidency, but they will subsequently support the second term bid of President George Weah.
PYJ contested twice for the Presidency and became kingmaker in the runoff both in 2005 and 2011.
Currently, two other sons of Nimba, Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe and Dr. Jeremiah Whapoe, have expressed interest in the Presidency come October.
Some aggrieved Nimbaians conversing at a local entertainment center in Ganta recently said the coming in of Senator Jeremiah Koung as leader of the MDR, is to closely work with Senator PYJ in negotiating political deals that would personally benefit both individuals, as the latter has done over the years.
Senator Jeremiah Koung had previously supported the Unity Party prior to taking over the MDR while Senator Prince Johnson is a staunch supporter of President Weah’s second-term bid. Editing by Jonathan Browne